healthHealth and Medicine

Horrifying Medical Case Study Reveals What Happens When You Don't Take Your Make Up Off At Night


Irina Levitskaya/Shutterstock

When you come home from a busy day or big night out, make-up removal might feel like a chore that can hold on until morning – but this might just change your mind.

Theresa Lynch is a 50-year-old woman originally from Maryland, US, whose gruesome eye condition was recently published as a case study in the journal Ophthalmology. Lynch turned up at the doctor's surgery in Sydney, Australia, with an unpleasant sensation in both eyes, as if someone had thrown a handful of sand at them she said. After some closer inspection, the doctors found dozens of black globules embedded in the underside of her eyelids.


The source of the problem: mascara, specifically decades of poorly removed black mascara that had hardened and collected in the eye. So much had been allowed to build up that Lynch suffered from chronic inflammation. 

"She admitted to more than 25 years of heavy mascara use on her lashes with inadequate removal," Dana Robaei, an ophthalmologist involved in the case, explained, reports Science Alert

Be warned – the photo is quite graphic.

(D. Robaei, Ophthalmology, 2018)

Not only had years-old mascara formed clumps under the eyelid but some actually poked out of the conjunctiva (the mucous membrane that lines the inside of the eyelid) scratching her corneas and causing the irritation.


After a 90 minute operation, surgeons were able to remove the pigmented clumps but Lynch has been left with permanent scarring on the cornea and the eyelid.

If this is making you queasy, it's worth saying this type of case is extremely rare. Hence, it's inclusion in the journal as a case study.

Lynch and her doctor went public in the hope that the story would encourage people to take better care of their eye hygiene – and, yes, that includes removing your make up every night and tossing your mascara every three months or so. (Sadly, mascara is one of the shortest living beauty products.)

If you need any more help or guidance on how to take off your make up and cleanse correctly, WebMD has a very helpful foolproof manual that can tell you how to do so. 


The moral of the story here: to avoid unnecessary hospital trips and black marks on the bedsheets, always, always, always take off your mascara.


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  • mascara,

  • scratched cornea